An Open Letter…

An open letter to Mitch Zeller, J.D. Director

FDA Center for Tobacco Products

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Take a good look at my face, Mr. Zeller.  This is not the face of a teenager.  This is not the face of a millionaire.  Nor is it the face of a rebel, an out-of-control addict, or an outlaw.  The face you are looking at belongs to a 48 year old, mother of 2, middle class, fully productive and contributing member of our Great American Society.

This is the face of a woman who pays her bills, pays her taxes, lives within the confines of the laws of the land, and asks for no monetary support from the Government she tithes a portion of her daily income to keep running.

This face is simply one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ faces, one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ lives.  Unremarkable, and unapologetically ordinary.

 

 

This is the face of a woman you have just condemned to a horrible, hideous, long and tortuous death.

You’d better take a good, hard look at this face, Mr. Zeller.  Because the mind behind this face is taking a good, hard look at you, and doesn’t quite care for what it sees.

And this face has a question for you.

Why do you want me dead, Mr. Zeller? 

And, not just dead, but suffering for months and/or years as cancer eats me alive from the inside out.

Why do you wish me to suffer, Mr. Zeller?

 

I want you to pick up your office phone, dial my number, and tell me, through the miracle of wireless telecommunications, the answers to my questions.  And I don’t want the sanitized ‘sound bytes’ that you sputter out when in front of a bank of cameras or microphones…I want the truth.

I want you to tell me that my life is not important to you.  That on the great tally-sheet that is your branch of the FDA, the life of a single vaper means less than squat when judged against the billions in profits ($4.5 billion in 2011) generated by the Pharmacological Industry’s ineffective and dangerous (but fully FDA Approved!!!) smoking cessation products.

I want you to tell me that the billions in revenue gathered by State and Federal authorities in punitive ‘sin taxes’ (roughly $11 billion in Federal, $794 billion aggregate for the States) on traditional tobacco products vastly outweigh the life of a single member of this society.

I want to hear from your own lips that the millions of dollars flowing in donations to top cancer-fighting charities would dry up overnight if an acceptable substitute to smoking were openly embraced by those elected and appointed officials who’s job it’s supposed to be to watch out for the public.

I want to hear you say that exploiting that public for profit is far more lucrative than actually doing the job (as outlined to the American Public) you were hired to perform.

I want to hear the gross, unvarnished, ugly truth issue from your mouth.  I want you to admit that my life doesn’t even begin to compare to the amount of money piled up on the other side of that scale.

I want your open admission that protecting the MONEY is the reason your job exists.

What I don’t want to hear are the platitudes, vacillating sound-bytes, and outright lies uttered to the press.  I don’t want to hear you are doing this ‘for the children,’ ‘for my own good,’ or even ‘for the betterment of Public Health.’

I want you to admit, finally, that manipulating the public into believing your lies lines your own pockets with green dollar bills.  Physically, they weigh less than silver, I suppose, but how do they feel on your conscience?

I want my answers, Mr. Zeller.  And I’m not the only one who wants them.

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On Thursday, May 5th, 2016, the FDA’s deeming for a regulatory framework for all ‘other’ tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, hookahs and premium cigars (there may be others…) was abruptly shoved into ‘accepted’ after a long and heated debate.

In 90 days, the e-cigarette market will be frozen in place.  No new products will be allowed.

In 2-3 years, once the full impact of these regulations have emerged…the marketplace as we now know it will have been tossed in the dustbin of ‘The Good ‘Ole Days,’ with the shattered remains owned by Pharma, Tobacco, and a few select, Wall-Street backed companies.  Their offerings will be watered down and ineffective versions of the free-marketplace’s innovative technology.  They will be products guaranteed to keep every American Smoker on the quit-smoke-quit-smoke-quit-smoke-die rollercoaster we all know and loathe.

But at least the money will be protected.

For.  Our.  Own.  Good.

 

Bullshit.

 

 

 

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Beating up the Fags

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**Warning*

*Disclaimer*

*Abandon all Hope ye who Enter Here**

This is not a typical post for me – this is a very political, very social, very disparaging rant – consider yourself warned 😀

A friend of mine across the pond was on a bit of a cigarette regulation rant himself the other day – and called an e-cigarette the Electrofag – which is why the British slang for a smoke is floating around in my head.

So – as Heisenberg says – ‘Relax…..’  This is a rant about cigarette regulation…not about the homosexual population – some of which I consider great friends.

I used to smoke.

I liked to smoke.

I wasn’t one of them weak-willed cig-suckers who bemoaned about addiction, and wanting to quit, and how awful the Corporate Tobacco masters were to make us their collective bitch, and how everyone should shed a tear for the poor, pitiful smoker who tried to hork out a lung when waking up in the morning because it WASN’T OUR FAULT!

mutter your favorite word for fecal material here…

I didn’t want pity.  I didn’t want a solution to my ‘horrible problem.’  I just wanted to exercise my right as an adult to perform this habit I chose to indulge in.

I.  Liked.  To.   Smoke.

I knew what it was doing to my body, and every once in a while, I’d get sick and tired of feeling a bit sick and tired, and put the smokes away for a few months.  But I was always back for 20 of my little white cylindrical buddies sooner or later.  Cold turkey was always my preferred method of quitting, as I had to get in the ‘I don’t wanna do this anymore’ mindset.

I.  Liked.  To.   Smoke.

Any time I bowed to societal pressure and attempted to quit ‘because everyone was doing it,’ ‘do it for your loved ones,’ or any of the other claptrap created to guilt smokers into giving up their habit, I was back at it within days…especially when using the NRT products offered by the friendly neighborhood Pharma House.

I.    Liked.     To.     Smoke.

When I got pregnant with both my boys – I gave up smokes.  Those were the easiest quits I did – the smoke made an already unstable stomach even more unstable.  Nothing like hugging Ralph (the porcelain god) after every cigarette to persuade oneself to give up the habit.  But after the kid popped out…here come my little round buddies in their square packs.

I.  Liked.  To.   Smoke.

It was the habit, the ritual, all the little quirky mannerisms that come WITH a cigarette that I desired more than the nicotine or the TSNA’s (Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines) IN the cigarette.  Smokers will know exactly what I mean – the rest of you have no business judging until you’ve tried to give up an ingrained ritual of your own…say that first morning cup of coffee, the daily 5 mile run, or Saturday Night Sex-athons.

I.    Liked.    To.     Smoke.

Which is why it is so surprising to me that I am nearing my 6th year in a row without lighting a carbon-based plant substance on fire and sucking the results of that combustion deep into my lung tissue.

I quit smoking by finding a substitute which allows me to indulge in all the mannerisms and ritual, without that pesky smoke stinking up the place and coating my lungs with a layer of tar.  I use a vapor product.

And now – by some twisted quirk of fate – those same arrogant bastards who spent decades demonizing the lowly cigarette are intent on painting my shiny new habit with the same tarry brush.

Why?  Money.  Power.  Arrogance.  Chutzpah.  Compensating for smaller genitals or lack of a sex life?  At this point, anything is possible.

I watched the war against cigarettes unfold in all its ugly incarnations as one of many receivers of unwanted attention.  While it started with good, simple, and attainable directives (educate the public about the dangers of smoking, and more of the public will choose not to smoke), it has slowly morphed into a witch hunt reminiscent of the Salem Trials.  If things continue on down the same path they have been, I firmly believe the endgame will be to burn smokers at the stake – using their own brand of coffin nails instead of wood or straw to set the bonfire.

No…dammit…they won’t.  Second-hand smoke and all that might harm the cheeeeeeeeeeeeldren.

Believe me, or not, your choice.  But before you toss off a hate-filled rant in the comments section, stop.

Just for a second.

Stop.

Think.

Is your reaction to the smoking issue quick and heated?  Does your mind fill with various sound-bytes and memes demonizing the average Joe-smoker?  Guess what?  You’ve been groomed to respond in this manner – without thought, without introspection, without REALLY thinking it through.

Marinate on that for a bit….I’ll wait.

Just like Pavlov’s dog was taught to salivate at the sound of a bell…the majority of people who DON’T smoke have been conditioned to bare their fangs and growl at the slightest whiff of smoke – the very sight of someone lifting a cylindrical object to their mouths will ignite a deep-seated desire to prove they are less than you, beneath you…a proto-human it’s OK to hate.

And those who used to smoke?  That’s a combination of unfulfilled desire to once again partake mixed in with that same smarmy superiority ego-trip.  If I can quit, anyone can.  Just man up.

Have I gotten you to start thinking outside the programming yet?  Or – will you continue to let the architects of Public Hate Health ignite the flames (using specially-prepared ‘clean-burning’ wood so as not to add to the carbon-footprint of the world), certain they’ve got them damn smokers ground to a paste under their well-polished heels?

Time to shake off the programming, people…